John Cochran is the Survivor star who captured the hearts of fans during his two seasons on the show. He came in eighth place on South Pacific before coming back three seasons later to win Fans vs. Favorites by a unanimous vote in 2013. What has Cochran been up to more recently?
Cochran Is a Writer & Producer for an Emmy-Nominated Animated Series on Paramount+
Cochran is now a television writer and producer. Most recently, he has been affiliated with an animated series called Star Trek: Lower Decks. The show premiered in 2020 on CBS All Access; the streaming network has since been rebranded as Paramount+.
According to his IMDB profile, Cochran served as an executive story editor for all 10 episodes during the first season. He was credited for writing the script for the sixth episode, called Terminal Provocations, which premiered on September 10, 2020.
Season two debuted in mid-August 2021. Cochran was listed as a co-producer. Fans already know that Star Trek: Lower Decks will have a third season. Deadline reported in April 2021 that Paramount+ had decided to renew the series.
In September 2020, Cochran compared working on the show to his Survivor experience. He wrote on Twitter, “Writing for #StarTrekLowerDecks has been one of the most fun, rewarding experiences I’ve ever had — and keep in mind I’ve felt Jeff Probst lovingly clasp immunity around my neck.” He also told Entertainment Weekly that working on the series was “some of the most fulfilling fun I’ve ever had.”
Cochran also works with another Survivor alum on the series. David Wright, who competed on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X and Survivor: Edge of Extinction is also credited as a writer for the animated series.
Star Trek: Lower Decks received multiple award nominations for its first season, including an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation.” The series also received three Critics Choice Super Awards nominations for “Best Animated Series,” “Best Voice Actor in an Animated Series” and “Best Voice Actress in an Animated Series.” The show didn’t win those awards but to be nominated after one season is still an honor. According to IMDB, the show won a ReFrame Stamp designation. ReFrame is an organization that awards productions that “hire women or individuals of other underrepresented gender identities/expressions (including those who are non-binary or gender non-conforming) in four out of eight key roles including writer, director, producer, lead, co-leads, and department heads.”
Cochran Previously Worked on 2 CBS Sitcoms
Cochran hasn’t played Survivor since his 2013 win but his relationship with CBS has been ongoing ever since then. He worked as a crew member and writer for two CBS sitcoms between 2013 and 2016: The Millers and Kevin Can Wait.
When The Millers was canceled in November 2014, Cochran gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at how he was taking the news. He posted a photo of himself curled up in a ball on a couch on the show’s set, while he appeared to be crying. He joked in the caption, “Feel like I’m taking the cancellation news pretty well.”
But teasing aside, Cochran has actually credited Survivor for helping to give him more focus about what he wanted to do with his life. He was a law student at that point but wasn’t set on pursuing a legal career. He told Entertainment Weekly, “When I appeared on the show, I was a diligent but directionless law student without a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life. It wasn’t until Jeff Probst encouraged me to consider writing that I ever thought about doing it professionally.”
Jeff Probst Described Cochran as One of His Favorite ‘Survivor’ Winners
Cochran has the distinction of being one of host Jeff Probst’s favorite players. Probst named Cochran as his favorite winner of all time during an interview with EW in 2015. Probst said at the time:
It’s hard to pick one favorite winner but I’m going to pick Cochran, and the reason I’m picking Cochran is if I just look at the show from afar, Cochran fulfilled the poster, the premise, when we started—which was, on any given day anything can happen. You’re never out until you’re out. And Cochran is the guy who should have never been on the show. And he turned his liabilities, his social awkwardness—he turned that into an asset and figured out how to win the game, and for that reason, he’s the guy you would put up there and say, ‘That should remind everybody that no matter whatever it is you do in life, it’s possible.’
Probst also revealed in early 2020 that the network had wanted Cochran to participate in the Survivor: Winners At War. But Cochran turned them down. Cochran told EW that he enjoys getting to watch Survivor as a fan now. He also said it would be more difficult to fit into his schedule now. “I was a law student on summer vacation the last two times I played; doing it now would be significantly more disruptive to my job and nervous system.” Cochran added that he was “at peace” and “grateful” for his Survivor journey.